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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Bengaluru: BBMP seals apartment door, removes metal sheet after picture goes viral

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said that the civic body was committed to address issues of stigma related to coronavirus. "Apologies for the over-enthusiasm of the local staff.”

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru | Updated: July 24, 2020 8:31:18 am
The metal sheet was removed on Thursday evening by BBMP officials. (Express Photo)

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) came under a spot Thursday after it had to remove a temporary sealing at an apartment complex in the city following outrage on social media. The staff of the civic body had sealed two flats in the apartment complex after the domestic help of one of the families had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The incident, which took place at Ranka Heights, an apartment complex in Domlur which is located in the eastern part of Bengaluru, came to light when another resident shared the pictures of the sealed apartment on Twitter.

“BBMP sealing done in our building for a confirmed Covid case. Lady with 2 small children, next door neighbours are an aged couple. What if there is a fire, @BBMPCOMM? Understand the need for containment, but this is an extremely dangerous fire hazard – please address urgently,” Satish Sangameswaran, a resident of the apartment complex tweeted.

Sangameswaran added that the door-sealing would also hinder the emergency response team set up within the apartment to ensure groceries and supply of essentials to the families.

“They are bulk ordering to minimise delivery contact, this makes it impossible to pass on big packages of essentials,” he pointed out.

After the tweet drew flak to the BBMP online, civic officials removed the metal sheet.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said the civic body was committed towards addressing issues that might result in stigma linked to the ongoing pandemic.

“We are committed to address any issues that result in stigma. Apologies for the over-enthusiasm of the local staff,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We are committed to treat all persons with dignity. The purpose of containment is to protect the infected and to ensure uninfected are safe,” he added.

Manoj Kumar Meena, BBMP East Zone co-ordinator, said an internal inquiry is on and a notice will be served to the contractor and officials in charge of the same. “Closing the door of an apartment is never our way of containment. Access to the apartment is restricted and others in the same place of residence are asked to be under strict home quarantine. The Joint Commissioner will serve a notice to the concerned people behind this at the earliest,” he said.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Purna Bhasin, whose apartment on the fifth floor was sealed termed the civic body’s measure “totally ridiculous.”

The sealing was removed after the tweet drew flak to the BBMP online. (Express photo)

Bhasin’s domestic help had contracted fever on July 7 and was using telemedicine aid till she developed symptoms of COVID-19 on July 15.

“Following this, her (domestic help) samples were taken after which she tested positive for the coronavirus on July 18. However, we have not stepped out of our apartment since then, strictly following all guidelines. Such action by the BBMP was totally uncalled for,” Bhasin said.

Bhasin lives in the apartment with her children, aged 9 and 10 years. Her next-door neighbours are an aged couple who live with their two-year-old grandchild whose parents are stranded elsewhere due to the pandemic situation.

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